University of Southern California

The Business Lesson I Use As Athletic Director
September 10, 2010 • by Pat Haden

Dear Friends of Marshall:

I didn't lift a single weight during my four years at USC. I had time to study philosophy, read literature, attend plays -- to have a varied college experience in the fullest and richest sense. I was fortunate to have played college football during the 1970s. I don't think I could have made the team today. Student-athletes today live in a 24/7 world of time commitments and pressure that reflects the extraordinary importance placed on collegiate athletics.

Since graduating from USC in 1975, I was able to attend Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, play professional football, and ultimately work for over 20 years as a partner in a private equity firm. And now I'm thrilled to return to USC as Athletic Director! My experience in private equity has some similarities to my new job. I dealt with highly successful people who had plans for the future. My task was to help them and help them manage their companies. Likewise, today's student-athletes and coaches are highly regarded and success-oriented. I am trying to thoughtfully lead and manage them as well.

My career in business has taught me that you cannot run away from reality. You can only embrace it. So I know the sanctions imposed on three of our 19 programs create challenges. But we don't wake up around here in the Athletic Department with a woe-is-me attitude. There is much to learn, much to play for, and much joy to be experienced in competing. There are lots of great things percolating. Every area, from women's volleyball, to women's soccer, to track and field, features interesting people doing interesting things, all in the spirit of excellence. And many of our student-athletes are from the Marshall School of Business.

As we begin a new football season, we need the support of the USC community more than ever. I hope you remember that the kids out there have been working at an incredible pace. It is during the challenging times when we find out what Trojans are really like. On behalf of the USC student-athletes who attend Marshall, I hope you will come out and cheer for our teams, and support the Marshall School as it prepares them well for full and satisfying lives.

Fight On!
Pat Haden
USC Athletic Director